At noon, on the fasting day
of Yom Kippur in ’38, father asked me
to run home from Shul and walk our dog.
I was so hungry I forgot about fasting
when I found a stick of Wrigley’s Juicy-Fruit
in my back pocket. Uncle Willy gave it to me
when he returned from a flight to Pittsburgh.
Airlines provided gum to stop ears from popping.
I walked by a barking Doberman wearing a swastika collar.
I had seen dogs like that in newsreels about the march towards war—
loading Jews on trains heading for Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
The dog lunged for me and sank his teeth into the calf of my leg.
How did the dog know I was a Jew? I wasn’t even wearing a yarmulka.
Police escorted me to Saint John’s Hospital
and ordered the dog, who had not been vaccinated,
tested for rabies. The results were positive.
I underwent painful medical treatments.
What kind of God would punish me
for chewing one lousy stick of gum?